Herbal Soup are taken in Chinese culture as a means of Yang Sheng or to Nourish Life and they taste good.
The ingredients in this wonderful soup all have medicinal value. The ingredients have their own individual characteristics and properties that make them usful in this delicous nourishing life soup.
Understanding the functions of the ingredients in the soup can help us to better understand when is the best time to prepare and eat it. Let start by breaking down the ingredients.
Yin Er (White Wood Ear)
The color is white. In the 5 element theory white’s element is Metal. The corresponding organ is the Lung and the season is Autumn. Autumn is the transition from the late summer months to winter. The air is dry and it is a time of harvest. The Yin Er or White Wood Ear has an affiliation with the Lungs and the Stomach. It helps to promote and generate fluids, therefore; it is useful when a dry, nonproductive cough is present.
Lian Zi (Lotus Seeds)
Although the Lotus Seeds are also white, they have more of affiliation with the Heart, Kidney and Spleen. The Lotus seeds are sweet and astringing. So they are useful when there is a poor appetite and case of chronic diarrhea. They also help in stabilizing the male and female reproductive organs as well as help calm anxiety and help with insomnia.
Mu Gua (Papaya)
Warm and sour, the Papaya helps to transform dampness in the body and alleviate cramping. It is helpful with digestion by reducing food stagnation. While the White Wood Ear is working on generating more fluids, the Papaya is working on preventing any loss of Qi and fluids.
Da Zao (Dried Dates)
The Dried Dates in this soup also compliment and help with generating fluids in the body. They help to tone the Qi and Blood. The dates add a natural sweetness to the soup.
To make the soup it is rather simple but does require some care so not to burn. The White Wood Ear and the Lotus Seeds needs to be soaked in water for at least 1 hour. This can be prepared a day in advance.
Once rehydrated and soft, the Wood Ear can be further rinsed and washed. Break into pieces and place in a pot or slow cooker together with the Lotus Seeds and Dried Dates and then cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. After cooking on low for 45 minutes or so can then add the large diced Papaya and cook for another 15 minutes. As the Wood Ear cooks the soup will begin to become think and gelatinous. At this time if it is becoming too think then add more water as needed.
Once finished the soup can be finished off with a touch of rock sugar if desired. It is suggested to be served warm but you could eat it at room temperature or chilled if you prefer.
So whether you need help with a stubborn dry cough or want help with poor appetite and food stagnation or just looking to try something new, Yin Er Lian Zi Mu Gua Soup is always a pleasant treat.